Get past Matthew Futterman and Douglas Blackmon's slightly misleading lede, because it's a fascinating WSJ look back at Tiger and the PGA Tour's relationship. There were several "oh-wow-I-forgot-about-that" anecdotes. My only beef is with the opening assertion that this week at Torrey Pines is a glimpse into the post-Tiger-accident PGA Tour (weren't things a mess there before the accident?):
The troubles facing the professional-golf tour without Tiger Woods will be on display when the annual tournament tees off at the Torrey Pines course in San Diego this week: Ticket sales are down, fewer hospitality tents have been sold, and the title sponsor had to be lured with a cut-rate price.
It is a harbinger of what the PGA Tour may be without its most popular player. Three of the Tour's 46 tournaments scheduled for 2010 don't have a lead corporate sponsor, nor do 13 of next year's tournaments. Television viewership of the first two events of this year's Tour tumbled.
I guess I struggle with the theory that even when Tiger doesn't play events, he brings a certain number of viewers because he's on the PGA Tour and will play against the very same players at some point. Then again, maybe that mentality has something to it.
Anyway, there was also this curious graph with the story:
The '94 number (pre-Tiger) was the same as '99, at (arguably) the height of the Tiger craze?
While we're doing misleading, the headline with this Telegraph story said, "Sergio García: American Ryder Cup team better off without Tiger Woods."
Here's what Sergio actually said:
The 30 year-old Spaniard said: "Tiger's absence made a difference. It made some of the other players step it up. They wanted to show everyone they could win without Tiger. Maybe when he's there, he's the leader and everyone falls in behind him. Without him, everyone wanted to be the leader. They played amazing golf. You could see a different energy in the team."
Well we have some idea how long "Disclosure Day" for Tiger and Elin lasted, as Radaronline reports that Elin has been in Hattiesburg for the last five or so days while her sisters care for the children. People Magazine backed up the claim with a sighting of Elin at the local mall doing some shoe shopping. Or, it was just a blond woman looking like her, wearing Nike sweats, sunglasses inside, diamond necklace, Coach bag (always a giveaway!) and accompanied by two security guards.
And finally Jane Atkinson & James Desborough file a lengthy report on a new Tiger mistress with a doesn't-pass-the-smell-test tale of a $500,000 buyout paid in cash with nary a lawyer (or Brinks truck) around.
There is one tidbit that is golf related:
Emma then moved to a rented villa on the Bay Hill golf resort near Woods' home and was in constant contact with him.
Our insider said: "Emma was living like someone in witness protection, always looking over her shoulder, and being checked on by two security guys. But Tiger assured her he would sort her out."
This is the second or third time Bay Hill has come up in various tabloid reports, each time not in exactly the prettiest light.
Note to Tiger: I'd take a big pass on returning to the PGA Tour at Bay Hill. Potentially waaaayyyy too many awkward questions.